Gregory Cowley

Alexis Denton, AIA, advocates for transforming the perception of “what everyone expects ‘old folks housing’ to look like,” as she tells Steve Cimino for AIA Architect in this article BUILDER's sister site ARCHITECT. The architect, who works for SmithGroupJJR’s San Francisco office and is a member of AIA’s Design for Aging Knowledge Community Advisory Group, wants to design senior homes to be ones that anyone would want to live in at any age.

When it comes to senior housing, design seems to be an afterthought for most. But the goal of the AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community is to be the go-to place for all designers to find research about how the environment impacts an individual or a group’s quality of life.

Some designers have found a middle-ground for senior living:

When it comes to aging in place and adapting homes for aging, there’s the big challenge of the isolation factor. What senior living can do is to provide the social aspect, which is maybe the most important aspect of aging. While many people want to age in place, to adapt their own home for the future, that outside element will be missing.

What’s interesting now is providers who are combining the two approaches. In San Francisco, there’s a new concept in development that includes a community center on steroids for older people who live at home. They’ll provide transportation to this “mall” of services and activities so they can spend their day there and interact, and then they’ll take you back home.

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